How many lenses to carry
When you do photography for a longer time, you tend to accumulate gear and especially new lenses. But how many do you carry with you? All of them? Just one? Today I will share with you my thought on this and which lenses I carry with me when I go out to take photos.
Depending on what kind of photography you do, you will tend to gravitate towards certain kind of lenses. As I do mostly landscape and cityscape photos, I mostly go with very wide angle lenses. But it’s different for everyone. Still, I have also zoom lenses and some fast lenses and similar.
What to take?
I never carry all of my lenses. Actually, 90% of the time, I would be fine with a single lens. One that has a nice range, that fits most of the situations. For me, it’s the 24-70mm 2.8 lens (but a 24-105 would be probably even better). Most of my photos are from this lens and it’s really great in almost any situation. It’s wide enough for landscapes, and you can do panoramas if you need to go wider. It zooms in enough for things like portraits or event photos, and with a high megapixel camera, you can crop a lot, and get even closer.
I try not to carry more than three lenses. Mostly, fewer the better. You can then just focus on what you are doing, and not thinking about switching the lens and trying something different.
The classic approach for a lot of photographers is to carry multiple lenses, that cover a big zoom range. So the classic would be a 16-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm (or instead of the 16-35mm an 11-24mm or 14-24mm, depending on the brand). This gives a really big range you can work with, from ultra wide to a decent zoom. And it’s together only three lenses, which is not that many.
What do I take?
This three lenses, wide, medium, and zoom is a good tactic if you have no idea what kind of photos you will or want to do. You are ready for most things. I don’t go with it. I just know that I don’t like to zoom in that much, that even if I carry a lens like 70-200mm, I will not use it at all anyway. So while I still carry three I select them differently.
The three lenses I take with me are an all-purpose lens, a specialized lens, and a unique lens. In my case that would be the 24-70mm f2.8, the 17mm f4 TSE lens and the 12mm f2.8 one. Why these three?
As I mentioned, you should always have an all-purpose lens with you. The one that you use most of the time anyway. The 24-70mm or 24-105mm is a good range for it. I would not go with a bigger range. There are lenses that can cover a bigger range, but the quality and sharpness of the photos are worse, and they are not that fast.
The second lens, I choose a specialized lens. For me that the tilt-shift one. It’s just so great for vertoramas, architecture and city shots. Exactly what I specialize in. For you, this may be something different. If you always do portraits, this may be an 85mm f1.2 lens. If you do macro photography that a good macro lens and so on.
The last lens, a unique one. With this I mean a lens, that will give me a view that most photographers won’t get. If you take photos in places that are popular, having a lens that gives you a less common view is a plus. That why for me this is the 12mm lens. Not many photographers use such a wide lens, so my view is more unique. You can even try a very fast lens or a fisheye or whatever you like to experiment with.
I don’t want to get the same photos and views other photographers got, so going a bit differently helps with that. Of course, when I’m going for an assignment, I take the lenses and cameras I know I will need based on the job. But when I take photos for myself, this is what I do.
Which lenses do you prefer to take and how many do you carry?